2013 Range Rover – I drove it, finally…

Just going to open with this statement and then get on with the show!

Loved it but I’m still not sold on buying one when I’m due again around February 2014.  That is completely due to the way Land Rover USA treats this very, very loyal customer.  After six Range Rovers, never without one since 1998 when I was just twenty years old, after restoring a 1971 Land Rover Series IIA and then creating this site, they are turning me off to the brand.  And I get they market on a macro level and I’m just one single buyer, but I’m also an influential buyer. 

It’s a shame, it really is.

A7irAGLCMAEuKGF[1]So after many months of hearing about others getting first hand experience with the new 4th-gen Range Rover, my dealer – Long Island Land Rover in Huntington, NY had their event, and I got my turn.

There is so much coverage on this that I don’t feel like repeating so I’ll just bullet point the things I found interesting.  Go read articles by actual writers for the full story.

The good:

It’s still very much a Range Rover.  The presence is still there.  Lines are great.  I’m usually not a fan of the glossy black trim but I think it really works on the roof pillars.

From the inside the A-pillars are thinner and to me the front windshield seemed almost more expansive.  I felt like I could sense the increased rake but it did not change that Range Rover greenhouse feel.

They only had an HSE available to drive, the Supercharged model was left inside.  I still can’t get over how fast the normally aspirated 375HP engine felt in the new Range Rover.  The Supercharged model has to be almost scary to drive.

It’s quieter but really that’s all relative.  The L322 was super quiet too, so it’s hard to really judge.

Finally, the issues I’ve ranted about for years have been addressed.  That big 12.3” TFT display actually does something with all those pixels, what a disappointing waste of a technology it was pre-2013.  But here it is!!

l405-gps-gauges

It also displayed information from the audio system.  The actual GPS info was only displayed for upcoming instructions, and would switch back to the audio display between those times.  I really liked the way the “dials” overlapped the map.

I like the overall reduction of buttons and controls but the trade off is moving commands to the touchscreen.  So if you want to control your climatic seat you have to hit a button which brings it up on the touchscreen and then tap the appropriate commands.  Muscle memory will not be as good.  Something’s are worth trading and some aren’t.  Look back at how BMW has evolved the iDrive.

Massage seats were neat, as were door closers.

The bad (not really bad, just the less than good)

One thing I loved in the 2010+ L322 was how expansive the lights that are broadcast from the side views at night are.  With the new Evoque over-styling, we get a smaller round spotlight on the ground with “RANGE ROVER” shown. Neat gimmick but still prefer more light.

In person the hood (bonnet) was a little too smoothed out for my tastes.  It looks like a Range Rover that’s had a bit too much Botox <—biggest complaint I have.

And that’s it, I drove it.  It’s still a Range Rover. Any questions?

  • PW

    “they are turning me off the brand”

    Interested to hear about the details. Can you elaborate?

    • michaeltw

      It’s more of the way they forget about a very good customer, as opposed to the new Range Rover itself. I feel, maybe wrongly so, that I should have gotten in invite to one of the preview parties, not because of this site, but because of my longstanding ownership of Range Rovers.

      But it’s always been the same thing, their PR people either don’t respond or respond with broken promises. It’s disappointing and I hope the quality of communications doesn’t reflect on the quality of the new Range Rover.

  • Matt

    I’ve been following your blog for some time now ever since I purchased a MY11 RRS/SC and with a growing family started watching the new full size take shape, especially with the rear legroom. Appreciate your news updates, but definitely surprised with the initial reaction you had and was expecting to read about some bigger elements of unwanted surprise. but overall, the “botox” which I agree with, doesn’t seem to be all that bad in compared to how much more there could have gone wrong.

    For me, I really don’t care for the Ford Explorer profile lights. Every time I am on the road I think, wow I could buy 2 Limited Explorers for the price of 1 full size HSE, nonetheless it isn’t a RR 🙂

    I’m anxious to get behind the wheel, but don’t see myself passing up my new ’11 anytime soon, at least not until my 2 little boys get big enough to outgrow the sport.

    • michaeltw

      Thanks for reading and for the comment.

      Although I only have the single nighttime drive under my belt, it was quite impressive and still very much a Range Rover. I did a lot of staring at every angle, pressed every button and tried all I could. One thing I forgot to add was that the buttons were a bit too clicky, if that makes sense.

      Any way, good luck with your Sport. I’ve got an ’11 Range Rover and it is without a doubt the best Range Rover I’ve ever owned.

      Thanks!